Dakota Access Allows Enbridge to Postpone Northern Minnesota Pipeline

If South Dakota’s regulators and courts won’t save us from Big Oil, at least their pipelines-unter-alles attitude is helping keep Minnesota clean for our camping trips. Canadian oil shipper Enbridge has mostly scrapped its plan to build the $2.6-billion Sandpiper pipeline to ship Bakken oil across northern Minnesota to the port at Superior, Wisconsin:

…Sandpiper’s route would pass through the Mississippi River headwaters and lakes plied by American Indians to gather wild rice, sparking fears of damage from a spill. A 2014 study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency found that Sandpiper would cross 28 rivers, lakes and wetlands that can’t be reached by nearby roads.

“It put sensitive natural resources at risk in a corridor where no pipeline should be built,” said Kathryn Hoffman, legal director for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, which represents Friends of the Headwaters, a Park Rapids-based group. “We are very pleased” with Enbridge’s decision, she said [Mike Hughlett, “Enbridge Energy Pipeline Pulling Plug on Sandpiper Pipeline,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2016.09.02].

Enbridge hasn’t completely abandoned the plan, but they say Sandpiper is no longer part of its five-year plan. With yesterday’s application withdrawal, Enbridge would have to start from scratch with a new application to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

Minnesota can breathe easier thanks to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission’s non-resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, in which Enbridge bought a 27.6% share last month:

Enbridge Inc. and Marathon Petroleum Corp. agreed to pay $2 billion for a minority stake in the Bakken Pipeline system, securing a way to transport crude from North Dakota to the eastern Gulf Coast sooner than planned.

Enbridge Energy Partners LP, a unit of Enbridge, and Marathon will acquire 49 percent of the holding company that owns 75 percent of the system from an affiliate of Energy Transfer Partners LP and Sunoco Logistics Partners LP, the companies said in statements on Tuesday. Enbridge will pay $1.5 billion for its 27.6 percent share of the network while Marathon will put up $500 million for its 9.2 percent [Rebecca Penty, “Enbridge, Marathon Agree to Buy $2 Billion Bakken Pipe Stake,” Bloomberg, updated 2016.08.03].

Minnesota, you’re welcome.

Related Reading: While Energy Transfer Partners has built support for Dakota Access by promising the pipeline will carry “100% Domestic produced crude” for “100% domestic consumption,” a portion of the oil it will carry for Enbridge and other companies will likely head overseas.

5 Responses to Dakota Access Allows Enbridge to Postpone Northern Minnesota Pipeline

  1. Paul Seamans

    One of the fears with allowing the Dakota Access pipeline to be built is that it is close to a pipeline that already crosses the Canadian border. This pipeline could be hooked up to the DAPL and tarsands dilbit could end up being transported in the DAPL. A spill of Bakken crude into the Missouri River would pale by comparison to a dilbit spill.

    Enbridge’s assurances that the DAPL will only ship 100% domestically produced oil mean absolutely nothing to me. How can Enbridge promise this when they only own a minority interest in the pipeline?

  2. …and then, Paul, we have another Keystone XL, right?

  3. No fire hoses will reach, now attack dogs are relrases on protestors. Welcome to Selma

  4. Where are the political leaders as this violation continues?

  5. Amy Goodman from NPR reports on Democracy Now